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Le sport embrigadé ? : Les sociétés de préparation militaire en France : des loisirs militarisés (années 1880 - années 1930).

Abstract : In 1914, sport was not widely practiced in France. On the contrary, gymnastics, shooting and military preparation societies were very numerous. Their main purpose was to train healthy young men and good soldiers. The goal was also to offer "healthy" leisure activities, creating republican structures of control between school time and army. At the same time, Catholics developed their own militarised associative network. More than 6000 associations were approved by the government on the eve of the First World War. "Conscriptive practices", according to Pierre Arnaud's expression, were also present in schools. The "preparatory" movement did not disappear in the inter-war period, despite the growth of sports. At least 3,000 associations were actively involved in military training in the late 1930s.This thesis aims to complete the rich historiography about those activities, by offering a national level study, on the whole period of the Third Republic. The "Union des sociétés de préparation militaire de France" directed by Adolphe Chéron is specifically analysed. The specific study of military preparation policy underlines how the growing institutionalisation of training practices largely influenced early sports policies. But the careful observation of the daily life in the societies, looked at mainly from associative sources, also shows the porosity between conscriptive practices and sports until the 1930s. This study, carried out in several geographical areas, revisits the history of physical and sporting activities in interwar France. Finally, an outline of comparisons taking place at the European level situates this French dynamic in a broader perspective.The history of these associations also provides a contribution to the First World War history, thanks to a chronological shift. 50,000 young men received the "brevet de préparation militaire", introduced in 1908. Teachers were also part of this preparatory movement. Despite the small numerical importance of the movement, it suggests a militarisation of society, including youth entertainment. In that sense, elements of a military culture were diffused, both ideologically and practically, for example by shooting training. This military culture, built up over several decades, could thus function as a repertoire for the emergence of war cultures in 1914. Nevertheless, the relatively small size of the preparatory movement puts this idea of militarisation into perspective, by highlighting resistance to these social control attempts. Conscriptive practices turn out afterwards to be much more ambiguous than they might appear at first sight.Finally, military training societies show the rise of the associative form at the end of the 19th century, especially in rural areas. A sociological study of these groups reveals the desire of the middle and upper classes to manage the leisure activities of young working class men. Teachers were also essential participants in the dissemination of these groups. It can be seen as an attempt to social control, using the concepts developed by Michel Foucault. But these groups were fundamentally places of new sociability, beyond the military aspect. Association as a modern technology of social power also revealed its limits. Gymnasts appear unruly, undisciplined, and the attempt to control their leisure time was generally unsuccessful.
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Lionel Pabion. Le sport embrigadé ? : Les sociétés de préparation militaire en France : des loisirs militarisés (années 1880 - années 1930).. Histoire. Université de Lyon, 2021. Français. ⟨NNT : 2021LYSE2070⟩. ⟨tel-03622606⟩

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